10 JULY 2017
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After an absence of two years, Alitalia returned to Croatia on Friday with a service between Rome and Split. It will be followed on 23 July by flights to Dubrovnik. Flights are twice a week by Airbus A319 and A320 until 10 September.
It is the latest development by the Italian flag carrier, which is continuing to expand operations despite being in bankruptcy protection and waiting to see what the future holds.
Several companies are believed to be in the bidding to take over all or part of the airline, with Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary saying he would be interested if Alitalia agreed to major restructuring.
Ryanair emerged in May as a potential bidder to take over Alitalia’s short-haul business and sell its long-haul flights through the Ryanair.com website, but O’Leary has also said he would want a majority stake.
Any deal with Ryanair would complement the Irish carrier’s long-haul strategy which has already involved a deal under which Spanish airline Air Europa’s long-haul flights already being sold through the Ryanair website (BTN 29 May).
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways holds a 49% stake in Alitalia and the Italian carrier is also in partnership with the Air France-KLM joint venture with Delta Air Lines.
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